We headed down to CHOP bright and early. We waited for a bit and Grace had fun playing with a little guy who was maybe 18 months old. He dropped his dad's jacket on the ground, Grace laughed at him, repeat. And then his mom had to check his sugar and Grace said, "I didn't know babies could get type one." It was sobering but I encouraged her to get right back to the game. Don't let diabetes stop the fun. I put on the smile while inside my heart broke. Such a little guy.
We met with our pump teacher and ran through a site change. Grace had done really well with these in practice. Basically a long needle punches a soft tube under the skin which is held there with adhesive. The needle is in and out quickly but it freaks Grace out (me too). When I went to do the site, Grace howled. I missed going in and the needle scraped across the top of her skin. Grace was not happy with me. Not happy at all. Our nurse convinced her it was no big deal, happens a lot, and maybe I deserved a second chance. I nailed the next one but not without a giant eye roll from my darling. I have no idea where she learned to roll her eyes like that.
After that, we were on our way. The smile on Grace's face--I can't even express how beautiful it was. She was just so proud and relieved. I think we were both relieved. I was completely spent after our appointment. I hadn't slept well the night before. I've been anxious about our transition and, generally speaking, a stress case. We were meeting Tom in Old City for lunch but had some time to kill so we hopped a cab over to Rittenhouse Square and Barnes and Noble. I desperately needed coffee.
We got all settled with coffee and snacks when I heard a familiar voice, "Well, hello there." It was my dissertation advisor, mentor, and dear friend who was also having coffee. I could have cried. Allen looks a lot like the old guy from the movie Up--only not quite as cranky. We spoke for a while about history, life, kids. Grace said she wanted to buy a journal because she likes to write. Allen said he wasn't surprised. Our conversation calmed me--he always had a knack for that- a knack for refocusing me. He smiled so warmly at Grace and assured me Children's Hospital never, ever lets you fall. Grace got fidgety so we were on our way. Our conversation allowed me to exhale-like seriously exhale.
We whizzed around the city again but got to Old City early. Grace thought all this cab stuff was completely awesome. We had some time to kill so we headed down Second Street. We were walking along and Grace says, "Mom-what's this funny little street?" I had totally set her up. I knew if we walked past Elfreth's Alley she would be curious. We ducked down the street and Grace wanted a quick tour. Our guide asked us how much we knew about Philly history. I responded, "not much." Grace whispered, "MOM" and gave me the squinty eye look. I made she "shhh" motion and it was our little secret. Grace giggled. She loved the tour and then we had lunch with Tom. It was our first meal on the pump and it was just so, so easy. No tears, no worry that someone would stare while we gave a shot, no concern that the dose wasn't right.
When we were finally on our way home Grace asked if she could listen to Selena Gomez. She was totally rocking out when she said, Mom-turn it down! You know what? This was the best day ever! No more shots, a new book, seeing your friend-he looked old-how old is he?-the little houses, lunch with dad. I can't believe how good this day is!" It really was a great day. To see Grace so, so happy after enduring so, so much crap from diabetes made me smile, too. The pump doesn't fix everything diabetes throws your way. But it sure does make things a little easier.